Undergraduate Research Endeavors Competitive Awards



1.     Program Purpose

The purpose of this program is to provide prestigious, competitive awards to outstanding undergraduates who wish to pursue a specific research project under the mentorship of a faculty member. In this way, undergraduates have the opportunity and resources to pursue independent research as well as work closely with active faculty members who are leading scholars in their fields. The competition is structured to mirror both the application process and the execution of a program that would typically be funded by an external granting agency: Students are required to submit a proposal describing a specific research project to be completed under the direction of a faculty mentor; proposals are evaluated by panels of UVM experts, and the top ranked proposals are selected for funding; awardees carry out the research, either during a semester or a summer, and submit a final report detailing the outcomes. In many instances, results may be suitable for presentation at regional or national conferences and/or publication (funds may be requested to support such culminations). Finally, it is mandatory that the awardees will participate in the Student Research Conference, held in April each year at which time a poster presentation of their research will be shared with the University community.

2.     Eligibility

The URECA! Program is open to full-time UVM undergraduates. Given the timeline for submitting a URECA! proposal (see section 4. Timeline) students apply for URECA! funding no later than the spring of their junior year. In accepting URECA! funding, students agree to participate in the Student Research Conference, held each year in April. Any UVM faculty member may act as a student's mentor.

The URECA! Program is intended to facilitate undergraduate research experiences that are over and above research normally conducted in the context of courses taken for academic credit. Mentored independent student research projects that are not associated with a for-credit course, including summer research, are thus eligible for URECA! funding. Research projects that earn course credit are ineligible for funding unless it is unequivocally documented in the application that the proposed project will provide a research component beyond what would otherwise be done to earn course credit. It is the responsibility of the student to include, and the course director to specifically concur with, a separate section in their URECA! proposal that details the course connection and fully explains how the proposed URECA! project will allow the student to go over and above the level of research expected in the for-credit course.

3.     Application Process

Each student proposer is required to submit with the on-line form.

The following comprises the URECA! proposal:

The URECA!  Grant Application allows you to upload your documents by browsing and attaching your materials to this webpage.

i. A project description consisting of a detailed description of the proposed project, not more than 3 pages (10 pt font) in length excluding references and necessary addenda. The description should adequately address the background, hypothesis, specific aims, methods and interpretation of results (and where appropriate for quantitative projects involving data collection and statistics, detail of statistical design and power analysis) at a level of detail sufficient to render the project clear and intelligible to faculty within your broad discipline although not necessarily expert in the specifics of the research project. Students can talk with the mentors to flush out the project details and a potential outline, but advisors are not to participate in the actual writing of the proposal. Mentors may review the written proposal.

ii. A budget listing specific equipment, items, travel, etc. necessary to complete the project together with estimated costs and budget justification giving specific reasons for all budget items.

iii. A resume for the student proposer, not more than 2 pages, containing the student's current GPA as well as a list of specific courses relevant to conducting research in the proposed area. In particular, especially where a proposed project involves data collection and statistical analysis, it is the responsibility of the student to demonstrate that they have the qualifications to successfully carry out the research.

iv. A short curriculum vitae for the faculty mentor, not more than 3 pages, indicating the faculty member's expertise in the research area and his/her experience supervising students. Curriculum vitae longer than 3 pages will not be accepted.

v. For students who have previously received URECA! funds a statement of prior support is also required: this item, not more than 2 pages, should detail how the proposed research differs from and/or extends previously funded URECA! research. Students must also submit previous project descriptions, and final reports. This information must be included even if the new project is completely independent of project(s) that were supported previously. [Note that direct continuations or extensions of previous work (e.g., "another case of…") will be given low priority for support.]

vi. If the research is associated in some way with a course carrying academic credit, an eligibility statement, not more than 1 page, establishing that the proposed project is eligible for URECA! funding. (see 2. Eligibility)

vii. If your research or creative activity involves human or animal subjects, the IRB or IACA clearance must be documented (either your own protocol or your mentor's).


On-line Application Submission

Students should save their proposals (all components as one file) in a .docx or .doc file in the following format: proposaljdoe.doc. (Files from prior years' support should follow this protocol and include the year of prior support: proposaljdoe_2003.doc) Each component of the proposal should be saved as a separate file

  • On the Web, navigate to: URECA!
  • Click on On-Line Application
  • Enter your username/net id ( first initial and up to 7 characters of your last name) and password
  • Complete the various boxes: ALL fields are required
    • Title of Project and Amount Required
    • Associated with academic credit? Yes or no?
    • Student Info, Faculty Info
  • Files to upload
  1. Proposal (e.g., J.DoeProposal.doc)
  2. Budget and Budget Justification
  3. Student resume
  4. Faculty short cv
  5. Statement of prior support (if necessary)
  6. Eligibility statement (if necessary)
  7. IRB/IACA clearance (if necessary)

4. Timelines

I. Student proposers must submit the online form no later than 4pm on March 1, 2013.

II. Awards will be announced no later than May 1 , 2013.

III. Budget accounts will be available for use by students by July 1, 2013.

IV. Present findings at the annual Student Research Conference, April 2014.

V. All project funds must be used by May 1, 2014. Accounts will be closed and funds will not be accessible or expenses reimbursable thereafter except in unusual cases in which explicit prior approval by the Office of Undergraduate Research has been obtained.

VI. A brief final report on the outcomes of the proposed research must be submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Research by May 1, 2014, unless the Director has granted an extension. The final report must be submitted as a Word or PDF file-other than that, there are no restrictions on the length or format of the report, although it must contain an abstract (at most 1 page) that is accessible to an audience of non-specialists. Final reports will be collected to create a Web based archive of URECA! projects.

5. Award Amount and Budget Constraints

I. URECA! funding will be available for up to 25 research endeavors. (There is only one competition each year, as specified in the Timelines above.)

II. Each funded proposal will receive a prize in the amount of $1,000 to the student proposer.

III. The Operating Budget Scholarship Award request may not exceed $3,000. Additional supplemental funding may not be requested at a later date. If the proposed research entails expenses and/or equipment that cannot be acquired within the $3,000 limit, the proposer must specify the source of the other funds/equipment in order that the project be deemed fundable. An operating budget is not required, but if one is requested, it must be for at least $500. This scholarship may not be used for salary or wages.

IV. Equipment or computers that should normally be part of a research facility where the project is to be carried out-or are readily available, may not be requested in the budget (although rental fees might be appropriate). All equipment purchased as part of the project accrues to the faculty supervisor's home department upon completion of the project.

V. The faculty mentor, by checking the box on the cover page, agrees to assume fiduciary responsibility for the project budget. Budget overages will accrue to the mentor's home department. Consequently, faculty mentors should obtain approval from the Budget Director of their Department or School before checking the box on the cover page of a URECA! proposal.

VI. Student travel and living expenses to sites and/or conferences may be funded, including conferences where the student may present the research results. Support for faculty mentors (including travel, even if with the student) is not allowable. Students must follow the University's Policies and Procedures for Travel and should contact the General Accounting Office at 656-1477 or e-mail general.accounting@uvm.edu for more information prior to making any travel plans.

VII. All operating expenses must be used to support the specific project funded. Monies cannot be applied to or interchanged with other (departmental) expenses. Operating funds cannot be accumulated or rolled-over in anticipation of multiple-year funding.

6. Evaluation Criteria
The project description should be as detailed as possible, including considerations such as: some background for the project in the context of existing work in the literature, an analysis of the problem including its importance to the research infrastructure, clear statements of hypotheses to be tested, proposed methodologies, strategies for quality control of experiments and analysis of data, benchmarking, and possible outcomes together with their significance.

Proposals will be evaluated based on the quality of the proposed research, the value of research experience for the student, and the record of faculty members with regard to his/her ability to provide sound mentoring in the proposed research area. Consideration will be given to the content, grammatical correctness, and lucidity of the narrative. Evaluators will also consider whether student proposer has made clear his/her qualifications to carry out the research, and whether the research can be successfully completed within the proposed budget and facilities constraints.

Each proposal must clearly document the student's original contribution to a research endeavor, especially if the project is part of a larger (faculty) research project. Student applicants collaborating on a larger project must submit separate proposals specifying their individual roles and expected contributions. Students who submit a joint proposal (two students working on the same project) will share the student award as well as one budget of up to $3,000.

Cross college proposals are encouraged and will be favorably considered.

Note that there will be no resubmissions of proposals in the same funding cycle.

7. Evaluation Process
Each proposal will be evaluated by at least two faculty members, and then by a review panel. The faculty reviewers and review panel members are selected by the Faculty Senate Research, Scholarship and Graduate Education Committee, and the chairs of the review panels are members of that committee.

For any questions on the application process, project description, allowable expenses, or review process, please contact Professor Richard Galbraith, Chairperson of the Faculty Senate Research, Scholarship and Graduate Education Committee: Richard.Galbraith@vtmednet.org

Once the awards have been made, a letter will be sent to students and faculty mentors detailing how the awards will be implemented. Students must work with their faculty mentors to access the operating funds. Faculty mentors with questions about budget matters should contact Ann Kroll Lerner in the Office of Undergraduate Research.

All student proposers will receive written evaluations of their proposals. Questions about these should then be directed to Professor Galbraith.

Last modified February 07 2013 04:32 PM

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